Improving patient education and physician-patient interaction critical to mHealth impact

Last week, east coast innovation reporter Stephanie Baum at Medcity News reported on a Research2guidance report on mHealth apps. It reveals that among 11 big pharmaceutical companies, 762 product-supporting apps have been developed and claim 6.6 million downloads.

…the leading Pharma companies have been able to generate 6.6 [million] downloads since 2008 and have less than 1 [million] active users. Given their position in the healthcare market, their app publishing efforts and the performance of some garage-type mHealth app publishers, this performance cannot make any Pharma company happy.

But are download volumes the goal? The report goes on to indicate that improving education and improving interaction between patients and physicians are two of the top four ways mHealth apps will impact healthcare delivery.

Here at Visible Health, we are proud to claim that our point-of-care apps including our flagship drawMD apps have been downloaded more than 500,000 times and are used by more than 50,000 physicians and clinicians worldwide. But more than volumes, it is the impact of creating more educated, confident patients right at the point-of-care that matters most.

Pharma’s beyond the pill market has spurred development of a prodigious number of apps. But as Research2markets’ report reveals, there’s a pretty wide gap in the audience these companies are seeking and what they want to achieve with these apps.

Digital health solutions for medical product companies need to be inclusive of every stakeholder because all parties in the continuum (payers and providers included) bring a unique interest and perspective. And everyone’s accountable to it: including our pharma friends being accountable to their own product. Strategic marketing in medical products is all about outcomes. But the tactical level, medical product companies often struggle connecting the dots, measuring outcomes and maximizing the powerful capabilities of these apps. This is precisely what we do for top pharma and device companies including Boehringer Ingelheim, BARD, Boston Scientific and other healthcare industry leaders.

As drawMD contributor and general surgeon Dr. James Nitzkorski has told us:

There is no doubt in my mind the amount of time we invest and tools we employ on patient education education, including drawMD, contributes to the success of our practice. I further believe it generates a more trusting, compliant patient.